Emergency Cardiovascular Care Now Available at Burke Health

Staff Report

Monday, February 13th, 2023

Burke Health announced emergency cardiovascular care is available after receiving its formal approval letter from Corazon on Jan. 30.

“This is a monumental moment for our community and citizens. We can now utilize critical time to start the testing, treatment, and procedures that save lives during a heart attack instead of patients traveling to other metropolitan areas during a critical time,” stated Lacey Zorn, Director of Public Relations at Burke Health.

Healthcare organizations seeking to add this service must undergo a thorough evaluation, including facility inspections and assessments of their emergency cardiac care protocols and processes.

Corazon performed onsite program verification on Thursday, January 12th, ensuring that Burke Health maintained compliance with the current GA DCH Rule for Therapeutic Cardiac Catheterization in a hospital without onsite Open-Heart Surgery.

With formal approval and verification complete, the hospital can provide fast and effective treatment if a patient or their loved one has a heart attack.

Burke Health has entered a tertiary partnership with Augusta University Medical Center (AU).

As a result, if open heart surgery is indicated for patients receiving emergency cardiovascular care at their facility, transport protocols are ensured through AU. AU will also provide telemedicine for Burke Health’s Cardiac ICU.

For patients experiencing a cardiac emergency, percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) can make a real difference when minutes count.

Burke Health will offer 24/7 PCI care in their state-of-the-art Cardiac Catheterization Lab, allowing immediate treatment for patients experiencing a heart attack.

The non-surgical procedure (PCI) uses a catheter to place a stent to open blood vessels narrowed by plaque buildup in the heart, a condition known as atherosclerosis.

The hospital has also partnered with Burke County Emergency Management Agency (BEMA). The parties will utilize secure, advanced telecommunications enabling their team of interventional cardiologists and emergency physicians to review patient status information before arrival. Test results and vital signs can be sent directly from the ambulance to help coordinate care for more rapid door-to-procedure times when minutes count the most.

“Leading up to this monumental moment for Burke County residents, we partnered with BEMA multiple times for coordinated training. In addition, several staff members work at both facilities. This helps us align efforts, ensure efficient communication, and provide excellent patient care,” said Frank Cunningham, Cardiac Cath Manager at Burke Health.  

The two facilities will continue to operate in tandem for cardiovascular emergencies and continued training as this service expands over the coming months and years.

“The addition of this service has an impact far beyond our facility,” said Paul Thompson, Director of Emergency Services at Burke Health. “It helps first responders get patients the care they need during cardiovascular emergencies, decreases the time spent transporting out of town, and most importantly, it’s a huge asset for our citizens with access to critical care right here at home.”

Burke Health also offers other Cardiovascular Services such as Diagnostic Cardiac Catheterization - used to diagnose cardiac disease, Cardioversion - used to restore a normal heart rhythm, Coronary Angiography - used to diagnose how well blood flows through arteries, Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump Insertion to help the heart pump blood, Loop Recorders, inserted to record electrical signals of the heart, Pacemaker and Defibrillator Implants, and insertions, and Pericardiocentesis - used to remove fluid from around the heart.

Non-invasive cardiac testing includes Echocardiography, Cardiac Stress Testing, Nuclear Imaging, Electrocardiography, Cardiac Ultrasound, Holter Monitoring, and Pacemaker Checks.

For more information about diagnostic testing and clinical services, please call Burke Cardiology at 706-702-2667.